Victor Korchnoi, suffering from a severe cold but apparently in good fighting form, sealed his 41st move in the eighth game of his world-championship chess match with Anatoly Karpov. It was the first time since last Saturday that the two had played in the Alpine resort of Merano, Italy. Defending champion Karpov had asked for a postponement of the game, which was originally scheduled for Monday.
Korchnoi, playing black, began the series of moves leading to the Ruy Lopez opening, with which he won his only victory in the match last week, but Karpov shifted to the Giuoco Piano, a very old and deeply analyzed system which can lead to very bloody play but, in the hands of a grandmaster, often ends in a draw. Experts on the scene suggested that the champion might be playing for a draw, and that seemed the most likely outcome when Korchnoi sealed his 41st move.
Korchnoi ran into time trouble near the end of the session, with only a few minutes to make his last 10 moves, but during that brief time he defended resourcefully and transformed a threatening position into one of near equality. In the adjourned position, his next move could force an exchange of rooks and an almost certain draw.
The player who wins six games will win the match. Karpov has won three games, Korchnoi one, and three games have been drawn. The moves played so far in game eight are given below.
White: Karpov; Black: Korchnoi. 1. e4, e5; 2. Nf3, Nc6; 3. Bc4, Bc5; 4. c3, Nf6; 5. d3, d6; 6. Nbd2, a6; 7. 0-0 0-0; 8. Bb3, Ba7; 9. h3, Be6; 10. Bc2, d5; 11. Re1, dxe4; 12. dxe4, Nh5; 13. Nf1, Qxd1; 14. Rxd1, Rad8; 15. Be3, f6; 16. Bxa7, Nxa7; 17. Ne3, Nf4; 18. h4, Bf7; 19. Ne1, Nc8; 20. f3, Ne6; 21. Nd3, Rd7; 22. Bb3, Ne7; 23. Nd5, Nc6; 24. Ba4, b5; 25. Bc2, Rfd8; 26. a4, Kf8; 27. g3, Rd6; 28. b4, Ne7; 29. Ne3, Rc6; 30. Ra3, Nc8; 31. axb5, axb5; 32. Nb2, Nb6; 33. Kf2, Rxd1; 34. Bxd1, Rd6; 35. Be2, Be8; 36. Ra5, Rd8; 37. Ke1, c6; 38. Ra6, Rb8; 39. Bd1, Nc8; 40. Nd3, Nc7; 41. Ra5, adjourned. Korchnoi, playing black, sealed his 41st move.